A New Campaign Model
I disagree that American conservatism is dead or dying. I wholeheartedly disagree that the “makers” of the country have been overwhelmed in number by the “takers.” I do not see it that way; and I don’t think the recent election was an indication that that is the new reality.
The United States has 50 governors, 30 of them are Republican, the latest being added last week. According to The Washington Post, no incumbent Republican governor has lost a general campaign election in the last five years, and at no time in our history has any party had this many governors at one time.
Republicans almost won the governor’s race in Montana, and the close one in Washington State has been called in favor of Democrat Jay Inslee.
If you look at the reality of the election, Mitt Romney was a very moderate guy and 50,000,000+ people cast a vote for him. I’ve no doubt there were countless others who didn’t vote for him, because, let’s face it, he really wasn’t a conservative. He was the lesser evil of the choices. He was a place-holder until something better comes along. He was our means to stopping the Unaffordable Health Care Act. Don’t get me wrong, I found him to be a very, very honorable man. He just wasn’t a true conservative.
What killed our chances was the dinosaur hierarchy of the Republican Party refusing to embrace the new election models.
The Republican Party needs to enter the 21st Century and understand campaigning starts now and the ground game infrastructure needs to be in place last week. That’s what President Barack Obama did; and that, my friends, is the campaign blue print of the future.
The Republicans were undone by years of Democrats getting out the vote. Imagine how the election would have turned out if we had modeled David Axelrod’s game plan. We almost beat the Democrats with sheer passion. Imagine the margin of victory when we step up and raise the level of the game.
Conservatism isn’t in a death knell; it’s just old and needs to remodel. No more Gingriches and McCains. It’s time for the Marco Rubios, the Paul Ryans and the Mia Loves, young conservatives with vision and passion, who didn’t come from the “old” model, but rather the new one.
Conservative values emanating from an old guy hand-picked by the old guard looks and sounds like what we just had. It took the youthful exuberance and vision of Representative Ryan to bring Governor Romney’s campaign to life, just like it took Sarah Palin’s fresh face and sincerity to bring McCain’s campaign to life. We need to stop putting the true conservative on the bottom of the ticket. We need to cut out the traditional figurehead who waited in line for “his turn.” Enough of the “it’s not your turn” bull crap.
Governor Romney failed because he lacked the passion of conviction. He tried to play the part and – in the end – did not convince enough people. He failed to persuade the voters because he wasn’t espousing his own beliefs. He was championing the beliefs of a party he isn’t all that comfortable with.
Add to that, he failed to articulate a vision and refused to campaign about big things until it was too late. He allowed himself to be dragged into the private lives of every day Americans. The minutia of everyday life belongs only on the local stage, not the national one.
Here in Maryland Frederick County Commissioner Blaine Young is proud to remind us that 20 of our 24 Maryland counties are run by Republicans. This isn’t by accident. However, if we want to have a chance at a Republican governor, we have to put forth a candidate who is bold, fresh and inclusive, while remaining true to his/her beliefs. This candidate needs to make the case why conservatism works; and, oh, by the way, he/she doesn’t want to cross the threshold of the family castle.
We can make conservatism as sexy as President Obama made big government. We can be for fiscal responsibility, smaller government, traditional marriage and life without insulting, promoting and excluding those who believe differently. Our next governor will be a leader who wants us to be in control of our own destinies while giving us the infrastructure to do so.
He/she should passionately and with conviction, proudly proclaim his/her conservative beliefs and assure the voters he/she is here to bring back fiscal responsibility, not to stick his nose into the everyday nuances of our bedrooms and backyards. The “people” will decide the fate of Maryland.
I don’t know the exact formula for that vision, but I do know we can’t keep excluding good and decent people because of differing social beliefs. I believe many of those people are fiscally responsible even if we are at times socially at odds.
Our next governor is one of the last lines of defense in keeping Obamacare from breaking the banks of Marylanders and true self-governance. It’s time for the new campaign model.